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Oral Reading Fluency and RWM

Read With me is a flexible program that allows for great flexibility in how you assess your students' or child's oral reading fluency, as well as their comprehension. For this reason, Read With Me should not be considered one definite program. It can take many forms depending on your needs as an educator, professional, or parent. While we do try to include as many of the standard practices and features found in other programs, we purposefully don't adopt one method over another and leave many decisions up to the user.

For this reason, you may find that you are able to start from one minute and count backwards, interrupting the student before they are finished, or let them start from zero, and let them take their time until they are finished to allow for final comprehension questions that may or may not be included.

The Role of the Evaluator

Read With Me, when used as an assessment, retains the traditional role of the evaluator to judge if a reader has made a mistake. While voice recognition is very useful in many regards, it cannot be relied upon to be 100% accurate, nor to take into account the nuances of reading styles, behaviours, etc. We believe that a live evaluator who knows the student can judge with greater discernment if a reader has made a mistake. In this regard, software is not yet a substitution the teacher as the diagnostician.

That being said, humans can also make mistakes, forget to mark an error, lose their place when a student is reading, and generally find ways to inadvertently skew outcomes. Make sure that you take your role seriously, whether it is as a reading specialist, parent, or classroom teacher, in the process of assessing someone else's reading performance. They are relying on you to help them arrive at their instructional reading level.

Mobile Learning

Read With Me is built for the mobile classroom. Without spouting cliches about the future, it's fair to mention that with time mobile technology in classrooms will no longer be considered the vanguard, but the norm.

Our fluency assessments and practices are meant to be done anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Ok we recommend that you know what you are doing, but essentially assessments could happen at home, soccer practice, at the hair salon, you get the picture. A teacher can record an assessment and grade it later during a prep period or after school, maximizing instructional time and busy parent can help out with quick, one minute diagnostics.

Parent involvement

One of the unique feature of RWM is the ability to invite your parents in enabling frequent formative assessments. While not all parents would be able to participate, we believe that allowing them to help monitor reading progress at home on their tablets, laptops or smartphones would not only ease the burden on a teacher who needs this data on a more frequent basis, but also bridge the two communities by facilitating participation, collaboration and engagement.

National Fluency Norms

The National Fluency Norms were the result of the extensive work of Jan Hasbrouck and Gerald A. Tindal and the University of Oregon. They provide a reliable, research-based blueprint for measuring oral reading performance by providing a percentile-based matrix for reading progress benchmarks in terms of correct words per minute read. The norms have become widely accepted and many reading programs align their benchmarks to the National Fluency Norms.

Note on Passages and their levels:
Although official passages generally become more difficult as the grade level increases, or the word count, Lexile score or other measure increase, some students' scores may not reflect this due to their vocabulary, prior content knowledge (what they knew before they read it), or external factors such as an interruption, or a triggered memory, or test anxiety.

The Grade level assigned to each passage in the Read With Me library is calibrated through the Lexile Framework, field testing, and user feedback. More resources on finding the lexile level of a read are below.

Why should I assess fluency?

Over the past decade educators around the world have put greater emphasis on the development of oral reading fluency due to recent findings linking solid reading fluency to solid reading comprehension. It is good to note that Oral Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension has stronger correlation in early elementary to middle school grades.

When a student is able to read fluently he or she is able to focus on making meaning from the text instead of spending time decoding phonemes and struggling with letter patterns and sounds. Once the student reaches a point where they can read with sufficient accuracy they are more likely to use higher order thinking skills when they engage with a text.

For this reason, more and more educators are realizing the value of monitoring their students' oral reading development along with comprehension. More reading programs have included the measure of reading accuracy and fluency as part of their summative and formative assessments and many teachers are realizing the value of this data.

Why should I assess fluency with Read With Me?

RWM digitizes research-based pedagogy and assessment best practices. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but uses mobile technology to streamline educator practice. RWM affords educators the ability to get good data quickly, without the scoring and scheduling overhead of most paper and pencil assessments.

Many reading programs have begun to develop their own versions of Read With Me with the disadvantage of only digitizing their particular assessment approach to Oral Reading Fluency. In addition, digital technology aids educators by putting more data points on the graph, giving the educator a more robust picture of student process.

As educators, we are aware of not only the many administrative and district constraints we navigate through but also of the flexibility that creating curriculum requires.

Using Data in Read With Me

National Fluency Norms has calibrated assessment administration in a framework that is recommended. By providing class summaries and individual student progress teachers can spend less time in figuring out student groups and more time with student groups in targeted instruction.

Oral Reading Fluency scores, however, should not be considered an overall gauge of a student's reading skills, especially after only one assessment. Students should not be grouped or leveled based on the results of only one assessment given at one time measuring one thing. For this reason we include comprehension options, to give the user the ability to add their own checks for overall understanding, or to choose from our own metacognitive question bank.